Set Yourself Up for Success Tip #5


FIVE: Understand the power of cumulative exercise.

The single most common excuse that people give for not exercising is lack of time.  I get it.  I know what it’s like to have so much to do that you don’t even know where to begin.  As my life has gotten more hectic, I have also had to get more creative.

At one point, I would not go to the gym at all if I didn’t have time for my “full” workout.  My definition of a full workout meant time to do cardio, weights, and a full stretch at the end.  Back in those days, I could kill an easy two and a half hours, five times a week doing my “full” workout.  The days that I can devote that kind of time to the gym are long gone, but I’ve adapted.

The truth is, life is hard and life is always changing.  We go through periods that are more challenging than others, and hopefully as things flow, they will also ebb.  It is during the busy times that you must be extra diligent about maintaining some semblance of a routine or risk getting so out of the habit of exercising that you wake up a year and a half later wondering when the extra twenty-five pounds accumulated on your back side.

What has helped me stay fit is looking at time differently.  I used to view my workout as what I did during a specific block of uninterrupted time at the gym.  Out of necessity, I’ve had to broaden my view of exercise.  I recently moved further away from my gym.  Since my schedule is normally very tight, minutes spent commuting back and forth have to be factored into my workout.  To make up for the extra time that I now spend in transit, I jog back and forth to the gym when I can, considering this to be part of my exercise for the day.

Sometimes my schedule is broken up by random appointments and I never get a long block of time to exercise.  When this happens, I tally up as much movement as I can throughout the day: I’ll jog to the gym and do twenty minutes of weights, jog back home, jog to my client, jog back home, and hit the gym in my building to do twenty more minutes of weight training.  Is this ideal?  Absolutely not.  Is it good enough when it’s the best I can do? Absolutely.

Everything doesn’t have to be perfectly executed and tied up with a bow all the time.  Often, you have to do what you can and be happy with your effort.

I learned an important lesson from a friend awhile ago.  She is actually the woman that makes all my custom bikinis for competitions.  I asked her how she had time to have a full-time job, make custom bikinis for competitors on the side, raise her toddler, and be a wife.  She said, “Everything has to get done, but everything doesn’t always have to be perfect.”  At the time, her comment offended my uptight/perfectionist sensibilities.  Now, I see the genius of her words.

Do the best you can, when you can, as often as you can, and let the power of cumulative exercise help you reach your goals.  Things don’t just happen. You have to make things happen.

Stay tuned for Tip #6

~ Tara Marie